Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Direct Tracking Not Available

Old 28th Aug 2003, 19:59
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: UAE
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Grrr We have ways.....

This kind of thing has been around in one guise or another since Pontius was a pilut.

Time for a little lateral thinking. You are up against a serious CYA agency in the ASA (or whatever it's calling itself these days).

The controllers WANT to help, direct tracking gets you out of our patch quicker..then we can go back to reading the book, doing the crossword etc

Try the old chestnut of "for weather avoidance". work out what kind of a turn (or miles off nominal track) is required to get you direct to your desired point. Then call up the controller, ask for 15 degrees left or right, or 10 miles right or left of track to avoid weather... he knows it's twaddle, you know it's twaddle, everyone is legal and happy. You get direct, he gets to give it we all live happily ever after, management can go and tuck their heads up their fundament.

Cheers all.

BTW over here in the ME, direct tracking is given (at least on our side of the fence) in at least 80% of cases.
divingduck is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2003, 09:26
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Brisbane, Aust
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Direct tracking

Try the old chestnut of "for weather avoidance". work out what kind of a turn (or miles off nominal track) is required to get you direct to your desired point. Then call up the controller, ask for 15 degrees left or right, or 10 miles right or left of track to avoid weather... he knows it's twaddle, you know it's twaddle, everyone is legal and happy. You get direct, he gets to give it we all live happily ever after, management can go and tuck their heads up their fundament.

Bad idea divingduck. If this becomes more widespread than it already is controllers will start to look askance at requests for weather avoidance. You suggest game playing when there needs to be clarification from management.
The only workable instruction re: direct tracking should be that it will not be done without the concurrance of the receiving sector, full stop.
badarse is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2003, 16:01
  #23 (permalink)  

Grandpa Aerotart
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Don't know what you're all on about...I got "Track direct xxx then planned route" on Tuesday without even having to ask. YBHM-YBCG @ F290. Saved a few miles and made my life simpler than the blue lines seemed to permit...hardly brain surgery!!

Chimbu chuckles is offline  
Old 29th Aug 2003, 18:27
  #24 (permalink)  
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Can't see the problem. Have had my share this week including today (2)! All within Brisbane airspace!
megle2 is offline  
Old 30th Aug 2003, 09:29
  #25 (permalink)  
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As a pilot it would be difficult to tell WHY you've been given track shortening, whether you've asked for it or not. Controllers may use an aircraft in reasonable proximity or a restricted area you didn't know about to approve or initiate track shortening prior to you recieving any restriction in your clearance. Others may just be doing it coz it feels good to pass on possible effieciencies, in accordance or not with letters from management.

This instruction has not been mandated in Melbourne.

Roger is certainly no rubber-stamping career bureaucrat. If you don't know the bloke you should keep your red-eyed foamy-mouthed rantings about him to yourself BIK.

The tricks about giving direct tracking:

The confliction you cause may be two sectors away, and that sector may be working flat out when it happens. You have no way of knowing this.

When the sh*t hits the fan it is easier to spot conflicts (groundhog day effect), apply separation (rule-of-thumb principle) and recognise where coordination is required to other sectors (r-o-t again). You make yourself busy by giving away the world you start to miss things when everybody in the sector hears an ELT.

Just the request from the releasing or next sector for direct tracking on one of your aircraft can be a significant distraction when you are working at a peak (even a momentary peak). Particularly irksome if the request is just because he/she is bored.

Even if you asked a sector about a particular flight, if the effects of the tracking apply for more than 30min or so he/she will have no comprehensive idea what aircraft may conflict or what the workload will be by then. He/she has no real basis to approve the request in a lot of cases.
Spodman is offline  
Old 30th Aug 2003, 14:46
  #26 (permalink)  
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In my previous post I neglected to mention that the direct tracking was offered to us throughout the week without a request from us.

After a discussion with ATC prior to this topic hitting PPRuNe we agreed with them that a direct track wasn't always a good idea.

Our direct tracks during the week were obviously into areas of little potential conflict.

Plodmans post sums it up.

If your route contains a sizeable dogleg then you are candidate for conflict if you take a direct track. You just need those pieces of swiss cheese to line up!!
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Old 30th Aug 2003, 15:27
  #27 (permalink)  

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Not just BN Centre either! Yesterday morning out of YSSY at 0415, not exactly a busy time for conflicting traffic enroute (except for the arriving internationals inbound from flight levels) ML centre forbid direct tracking until I got to 45nm SY when queried the controller tipped me that I was OCTA and I could do what I wanted.

Nobody but me flying at that time in that airspace but costs my company an extra 0.2 on the flight for no benefit in safety.

Pointless really.
Jet_A_Knight is offline  
Old 30th Aug 2003, 16:43
  #28 (permalink)  
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Chimbu chuckles,

Was that you in the Conquest?

MURPH-GAY always keeps aircraft away from the top of RK to allow jets unrestricted descent in from the South. Especially with SWB active to FL360, any aircraft north below that (most!!) are funneled along the RK-MK track, so the amended route is a good, laterally separated route (especially when you are non-RVSM!!!! ) with that route.

Keeping aircraft away from over the top of RK is usually a good, valid justification. Like Spodman said, a pilot won't necessarily know why he/she has been given direct tracking. In this case, it is all within one sector's airspace and the number of conflict reductions are far greater than those that it may create.

PS nice groundspeed, nearly 400 KTS at one stage if I remember....

Agree with the weather avoidance game - management needs to be given the message. Leave the weather avoidance alone for when it is really needed, otherwise valid diversions for weather might become more restrictive...

Last edited by Blastoid; 30th Aug 2003 at 16:53.
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Old 30th Aug 2003, 17:46
  #29 (permalink)  
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Thumbs down

Out of Ballina the other day, we asked for direct to Singleton and were told "not available".

For the last 2 years, we have always been either:

a) Given the status of Evans Head R areas so as to set up for either PLO or via CAS;

b) Automatically given an "expectation" of direct SGT unsolicited.

IMHO, good customer service

The other day it was like pulling teeth from the individual concerned. After the short "not available", we then had to ask for the status of R641 etc to ascertain as to whether we could go as per our standard FPL or not.

There is obviously something afoot in ATC to which we as customers are not privvy.

I'm not terribly impressed with the way we were treated, and from the feedback in the crew room, neither are a lot of my colleagues, who are receiving similar treatment out there.
Hugh Jarse is offline  
Old 30th Aug 2003, 19:36
  #30 (permalink)  
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It is astonshing that Aussie controllers, to this day, are still too lazy to offer good direct tracking services... Spodman: Ever heard of radar vectoring ? Get given direct all the time in the US, no trouble at all, often over several hundreds of miles...Controllers seem pleased to give this service and are paying attention...any conflictions and a polite request to change heading twenty, thirty degrees until clear. Why Aussies always strive to make something simple complicated is a mystery. Sooner or later, Australia will follow the US in free flight.
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Old 30th Aug 2003, 22:46
  #31 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
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sooner or later winstun will follow the shepherd and get the flock out of here.
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Old 30th Aug 2003, 23:59
  #32 (permalink)  
on your FM dial
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ftrplt and Spodman,

Are you suggesting that Roger Hope Brisbane FIR OPS Manager did NOT issue a management instruction telling air traffic controllers not to issue or authorise direct tracking unless it was required for spacing or sequencing or for a couple of other very specific things?

My information is that he did.
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Old 31st Aug 2003, 03:06
  #33 (permalink)  
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Badarse and Blastoid and others out there.....

rant on...

From what I gather we are discussing track shortening under Radar control??

From what I have heard (I grant you hearsay only) air traffic levels since the demise of Ansett have been way way down.

A friend recently told me that he hadn't held anyone going into Brizzy for ages....

If this is correct what on Earth is all this palaver about??

You have the tools...use the damned things! If you want everyone left on the lines, and play unders and overs, turn the radar off and go procedural, then at least you will have an excuse.

rant off...

You could always get Civilair to lean on management and issue a NOTAM advising the industry that direct tracking will not be allowed....that should toss the feline amongst the poultry.

To reiterate to all the pilots out there, the ATC on frequency probably would love to give the direct away, aim all your snipes at those sitting a few rungs above them on the ladder.
divingduck is offline  
Old 31st Aug 2003, 08:05
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Correct about traffic levels; no dispute there.

We use the tools we have all the time to facilitate the "expeditious" flow of traffic ... but let me tell you if you do that, and somebody down the line completely unrelated has an incident, you will get fried whether or not it was a causal factor - wilful "non-compliance" is a hot potato.

Communications to the industry aside (no comment), the heavy hand will come down on those who willingly go against the management instruction. While I would like to facilitate the expeditious flow of traffic (safely of course), I don't fancy losing my job over it.
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Old 31st Aug 2003, 11:07
  #35 (permalink)  
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This has got to be one of the biggest crocks of shite for a long time.

I hope they scrub out the part about 'saving thousands of tons of greenhouse gases' on the ASA moronic dribble 'hold music' you have to endure waiting for one of the briefing dudes to get to you.

And whats even better - not having the balls to come out OFFICIALLY and tell the industry what they are doing - leaving it to the dudes at the consoles to do the explaining and take the heat.
Col. Walter E. Kurtz is offline  
Old 31st Aug 2003, 16:49
  #36 (permalink)  
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It appears that the "management directive" has now been incorporated into the operating procedures for Brisbane Centre. Additionally, it has been determined that these restrictions on direct tracking do not override pre-existing allowances for direct tracking contained in ATC local instructions. As a result, more direct tracking will be given away, even if it is unsolicited. What routes/times of day are affected depend on the local instructions.

Alot of back and forth has taken place on the air with queries and explanations of if or why direct tracking is available or not. This increases the workload of both the pilot and controller, and can interfere with the use of R/T for others in the airspace. It has also served to increase tensions in an environment in which they should be minimised.

There are a multitude of reasons why direct tracking is or isn't available at any one time, and a controller is not always going to give a reason. It's made even more complicated because direct tracking will be available under some circumstances. Second guessing each other's requests/motives can only lead to an unsafe situation.

Pilots concerned with controller actions in these matters should talk to their management who should talk to ASA management. That is where the discussion of policies should (and should have) take place.
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Old 1st Sep 2003, 07:36
  #37 (permalink)  
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You live in the stone age Winstun. Apart from jets I don't have the radar coverage to vector anyone anywhere useful. When I offer vectors pilots whine and whinge, I expect they can do it better with their gear. I have offered vectors for track shortening when there is no convenient waypoint to "DCT" to, this offer was accepted for the first time last Friday.

There is an operator who used to regularly request such, I believe his company told him to stop.

BIK. I didn't say the instruction doesn't exist, I believe it does and in fact we have a watered-down version in effect in Melbourne now as well. I just objected to your unwarranted personal attack.

I have never, and would never, offer track shortening OCTA. If a pilot asks I tell him no traffic and advise intentions.
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Old 1st Sep 2003, 12:29
  #38 (permalink)  
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Ahhhh Winstun finally arrives. Took him longer than usual this time. The man who believes the big sky theory is a scientific fact we should base our whole air traffic system around.

I agree with Spodman, and many of the others that there are times where the dogleg serves a purpose ie. stops nose to nose situations with aircraft on climb and descent. Winstun may say why not use vectors, but he forgets that we as controllers should always work with the worst case scenario in the back of our mind. Three bad scenarios that could happen after having given direct tracking with the backup that you'll radar vector them if need be later.

1. RADIO FAILURE, if the guy had taken that dogleg and was now 10 NM laterally clear of the inbound no problem, but now he's nose to nose and you have no way of contacting him...oops.

2. LEVEL BUST, again if laterally clear right now, he'd get a slap on the wrist and everyone would go home happy, now you hope his TCAS is working.

3. Emergency Descent, you are busy enough with the emergency without having to try and vector the guy who is nose to nose due to the direct tracking, that is if you have time to even consider that.

When you go out into the big bad world of Aviation, you soon realise that if the Americans do something a certain way, then find a different way to do it. Their pilots are a disgrace, they never listen out, they never readback clearances and then help themselves to a track shortened route. I've had two level busts here, and both were yanks. Free flight as the Americans do, you gotta be kidding.

I am not a fan of a blanket NO DIRECT TRACKING directive, as it takes away a tool that a controller may use to their and also the aircrafts advantage. The problem is the rule comes in cos some people go too far (eg. 100NM Perth dct to CANTY, through 1000's of NM's of non radar airspace...scary) and management works on the lowest common denominator. Management and/or fellow controllers needs to sort out these rogue controllers rather than bringing out restrictions that leave the rest of the controllers hamstrung.
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Old 1st Sep 2003, 12:44
  #39 (permalink)  
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A few years back when direct tracking and requests therefore came up for discussion the major airlines of the day said that as a matter of policy they plan all their operations on established tracks and flying the full SID or STAR as applicable and do NOT encourage their pilots to seek direct tracking in any form.

ASA was of the belief that safety assurance would be maximised especially in terminal areas if direct tracking was not provided - the everything on rails policy.. The airlines stopped short of instructing their pilots not to seek direct tracking but from an official position they did not seek same.... leaving it up to the pilot.

The best person in the system to judge if direct tracking or any other tracking is best for an aircraft is the ATCO or Flow controller and if it does not conflict and serves to expedite traffic flow in a safe manner then perhaps it is the ATCO that should "offer" the direct tracking in every case. That would mean that if is not available it would not be offered, and of course if it worked right the pilot would never have to ask. (if the pilots trusted ATC to always offer when available that is..)

But that is not the culture that our system works on as the communication at a high level seems to not have worked as it should have.

Perhaps "amended route" is the way to go...?
triadic is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2003, 19:21
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
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Brisbane Missive?

Discretion to use direct track
Is something controllers now lack
Cover your arse
Has lead to this farce
Should someone be getting the sack?
Whilst there has been much bashing of the Brisbane Manager who put his name to this "Management Instruction" the topic to hand actually came from a national procedures meeting. The requirement was to have been the focus of an imminent National Instruction but suddenly things seem to have gone quiet and Brisbane is left to carry the can as far as the industry is concerned. Melbourne have recorded a wishy-washy watered down version in their procedures and Brisbane has now followed the management instruction with something that at least fits within SOP documentation, but the national voice seems to have gone quiet.

Could it be that the stony silence from Canberra has something to do with the amount of fuss the customers are kicking up?

There is some wisdom in the theory that you should never volunteer and never go first. Methinks that Brisbane going first left everybody else a chance to see the reaction and back quietly away hoping not attract any attention.
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